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Physician Office EHR Adoption Drops Slightly from 2015 to 2016

IRVINE, CA -- The percentage of physician offices reporting adoption of electronic health record (EHR) software actually dropped from January 2015 to January 2016, according to a new survey.

The survey was conducted by SK&A, a division of IMS Health.

The health information provider, which has been measuring the adoption of EHRs since 2010 and provides historical data, trending, and mapping, regularly gathers information from its database of about 600,000 physicians from 58 practice specialties.

For this survey, office staff and business managers were asked to respond to up to 20 questions related to EHR purchase, usage, brand, and intent.

The report found that overall office adoption dropped from 62.8% as last year began to 59% at the beginning of this year. The decrease occurred in all practice sizes, from solo practitioners to offices with 26 or more physicians.

The trend also was present whether the practice was hospital/health system owned, and in all regions of the United States.

The survey notes that, despite slight declines in percentage usage, internal medicine/pediatrics, urology, radiology, family practice, and pathology remained the highest users of EHRs. The lowest users were in psychiatry, general preventive medicine, holistic medicine, and forensic psychiatry.

States in the West tend to have higher adoption of health record systems — Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, and North Dakota topped the lists — while usage was lowest in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia, according to the survey.

Among SK&A’s database of users, the most popular EHR vendor is Epic, purchased by 12.4% overall, followed by eClinicalWorks LLC, by 10.3%; Allscripts by 8.2%; Practice Fusion by 6.5% and NextGen Healthcare by 5.4%.

While less up-to-date, the website reports that, as of 2014, a majority of office-based physicians had adopted EHRs. By the end of 2014, about 8 in 10 (83%) of office-based physicians had adopted any EHR, and 51% adopted a "Basic EHR,” according to the government report.

Since 2008, office-based physician adoption of any EHRs has nearly doubled, from 42% to 83%, while adoption of Basic EHRs has nearly tripled from 17% to 51%, the report notes, adding that between 2013 and 2014, adoption of any EHR grew by 6% and Basic EHR adoption grew by 5%.